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World Healthy Eating Tour - 7-Day Southern-Inspired Meal Plan

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World Healthy Eating Tour - 7-Day Southern-Inspired Meal Plan
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In this article: 

  • It can be hard to find easy, healthy meals for weight loss. But it is possible.
  • This meal plan is inspired by southern cooking with a healthy and delicious twist.
  • The meal plan has 7 days’ worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. They total about
    1,200 calories. You can add snacks if you need more calories.
  • Be sure to ask your doctor before using any new meal plan.
  • The Lark digital coach is available 24/7 on your smartphone with more tips for healthy
    weight loss.


Healthy eating for weight loss can be simple. And it can taste good. Here is a 7-day meal plan to try. Most of the meals take only a few minutes to put together. There are a few delicious recipes you can try if you like.


Each day shows about 1,200 calories. The menus get about 30 to 35% of their calories from carbohydrates. If you need to, you can add snacks from this Snack List. You can also consider using swaps from our Healthy Swaps List.


Here are a few tips for success. 

  • Olive oil is a healthy swap for butter in cooking.
  • Roasting and pan-frying (using cooking spray) are lower-calorie swaps for deep frying.
  • Whole-grain or stone-ground grits, whole-grain cornmeal, whole-grain English muffins,
    and whole-wheat flour can help you get more whole grains compared to using regular
    grits, refined cornmeal and flour, and white biscuits.
  • Brown rice and whole-grain pasta are good swaps for white rice and regular pasta.
  • Greek yogurt and low-fat sour cream can make salads creamy without adding much
    mayonnaise.

Here are some more tips. 

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Aim for at least 64 ounces.
  • Each meal has about 30 grams of nutritious carbohydrates. That is a moderately low
    amount. It can help with weight loss and health.
  • Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting a new meal plan, and ask what might be the
    best approach for your own needs.
  • Include some physical activity, as long as your healthcare provider supports it. A good
    goal for most people is at least 150 minutes per week.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Monday
Scrambled Eggs and a Biscuit

2 stalks of cut collard greens and 1⁄2 cup of onions and/or mushrooms cooked in cooking spray, with 1 egg and 2 egg whites (or 4 egg whites) and 2 tablespoons of milk or almond milk

1 whole-wheat biscuit or English muffin with 1 ounce of low-fat cheese
Cajun Shrimp Chopped Salad

1⁄2 recipe of 6 ounces of shrimp tossed with cajun spice blend and cooked in cooking spray, tossed with 1 chopped tomato, 1 chopped cucumber, 1 cup of cooked corn kernels, 1⁄4 diced onion, and 4 cups of chopped lettuce

1⁄2 recipe of dressing with 1 tablespoon of olive, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 clove of pressed garlic, black pepper, and (optional) 1⁄4 cup of plain Greek yogurt

1 medium apple
Barbecued Chicken and Stewed Cabbage

3 ounces of skinless chicken brushed with sugar-free barbecue sauce - store-bought or make your own with tomato paste, onion powder, cloves, garlic powder, paprika, vinegar, and brown monk fruit or stevia

1-2 cups of chopped cabbage stewed with 1/2 cup diced onion, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and 1⁄4 cup of low-sodium broth.

1⁄2 cup of cooked black-eyed peas
Tuesday
Fruit, Orzo, and Nut Salad

1 cup of cut watermelon, cantaloupe, or other fruit, with 1⁄2 cup of cooked whole-grain orzo or brown rice and 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts and fresh mint leaves
Black-Eyed Pea Soup

1⁄4 recipe, below

Top with 1 ounce of parmesan cheese or 2 teaspoons of olive oil
Trout and Cheesy Succotash

3 ounces of trout baked with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, cajun spice, and lemon juice

1⁄2 cup each of chopped red bell pepper and okra, 1⁄4 cup of onion, and 1 clove of sliced garlic cooked in cooking spray, mixed with 1⁄2 cup each of cooked fresh or frozen lima beans and corn kernels, plus dried thyme and black pepper to taste
Wednesday
Shrimp and Grits with Peppers and Yellow Squash

1⁄4 cup of stone-ground or whole-grain grits made with 1 cup of water and dash of salt, mixed with sliced garlic, 3 ounces of shrimp, and 1⁄2 cup each of sliced bell pepper, yellow squash, and onions cooked in 2 teaspoons of olive oil, all seasoned with lemon juice, hot sauce, and black pepper
Salmon Croquettes with Creamy Dipping Sauce and Mustard Greens

1⁄4 recipe of Baked Salmon Vegetable Croquettes with Creamy Dipping Sauce, served with 1 cup of cooked mustard greens with 2 teaspoons of light margarine

3⁄4 cup of cut melon
Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

1⁄4 recipe: 1 diced onion, 2 chopped green bell peppers, 2 chopped stalks of celery, and 4 cloves of minced garlic cooked in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, added to a slow cooker with a bay leaf, cajun seasoning, thyme, parsley, hot sauce, and 1 cup of water, served over 1⁄2 cup of cooked brown rice.

Green salad with 2 tablespoons of light vinaigrette and 1 ounce of low-fat cheese
Thursday
Crustless Mini Quiche Cup and Watermelon Salad

1 egg and 2 egg whites poured over chopped tomatoes and greens, with 1⁄2 ounce of low-fat shredded cheese baked in a muffin cup with cooking spray and panko breadcrumbs

Watermelon with 1⁄2 cup diced cucumber, 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts, and fresh mint
Braised Chicken with Greens and Mashed Sweet Potatoes

3 ounces of braised skinless chicken breast served over 1 cup of mustard greens cooked with broth, creole seasoning, and diced onion, plus 1⁄2 cup of mashed sweet potatoes with milk, 1 teaspoon margarine, nutmeg, and pepper
Shrimp Squash Gumbo

Celery, green pepper, onion, okra, zucchini, poblano peppers, and butternut squash, plus (optional) 3 ounces per person of shrimp and (optional) 3 ounces per person of meatless sausage. Serve over 1⁄2 cup cooked brown rice.
Friday
Simple Grits

1 cup of cooked whole-grain grits (1⁄4 cup dry grits) with 1⁄2 ounce of nuts, 1 cup of berries, and 1 ounce of low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
Black Eyed Pea and Corn Salad

1⁄2 cup each of corn kernels and cooked black-eyed peas, chopped tomato, bell pepper, and onion, 3 ounces of cooked fish, lime juice, garlic, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, garlic, and hot sauce

1 medium apple
Baked “Fried” Chicken Dinner

Oven fried skinless chicken breast strips with whole-grain cornmeal coating

Coleslaw with shredded cabbage and carrots, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, black pepper, and cayenne pepper piece)

Whole-Grain Cornbread (1/12 of recipe below or 2-inch by 3-inch piece)
Saturday
Chicken and Waffles

3 ounces of baked “fried” chicken and 1 whole-grain waffle with 1⁄2 cup of non-fat cottage cheese and 1⁄2 cup of berries
Lemon Lentil Soup with Salad

Lentil soup with kale, carrots, tomato paste, cilantro, low-sodium broth, cumin, pepper, and lemon juice

Green salad with 2 cups of greens, 1⁄2 cup of sliced peaches, 1 ounce of blue cheese, chopped shallot, and 2 tablespoons of light vinaigrette
Spicy Shrimp with Green Beans and Orzo

3 ounces of shrimp cooked with olive oil, onion, green pepper, garlic, and hot sauce

1 cup of roasted or steamed green beans

1⁄2 cup of cooked whole-grain orzo or brown rice
Sunday
Scrambled Eggs

4 egg whites or 1 egg and 2 egg whites with cilantro, 1⁄2 cup of black beans, green onions, hot sauce, and 1 ounce of jack cheese

1⁄2 cup of cooked sweet potato cubes heated with 1 teaspoon of oil, diced onion and green pepper, and hot sauce
Chicken Salad

3 ounces of cooked shredded or cubed skinless chicken with 1⁄2 cup of diced apples or sliced grapes, 1⁄4 cup of plain yogurt, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and 1 cup of shredded fresh spinach leaves.

1 square of whole-grain cornbread
“Beans and Greens”

Per person, use 1⁄2 cup of cooked white beans, 1 cup of chopped turnip greens, 1⁄2 cup of diced turnip, 2 slices of chopped meatless bacon, stewed with garlic, red pepper flakes or hot sauce, and pepper.

1 sliced apple baked with cinnamon and topped with 1 ounce of low-fat cheddar cheese

Recipes 

Black-Eyed Pea Soup 

There are so many reasons to make soup. It is easy and delicious. You can put in all kinds of healthy ingredients and use soup as a way to increase your intake of vegetables. You can make a big batch on the weekend or whenever you are at home for a couple of hours. Then freeze the leftovers in small containers, and thaw one out whenever you need something healthy to eat. 

This black-eye pea soup has vegetables, whole grains, protein, healthy fat, and tons of fiber. The recipe calls for black-eyed peas, but you can easily use any type of beans, lentils, or split peas instead. You can also add any vegetables you like, such as cabbage, mushrooms, or bell peppers. If you don’t have vegetable juice at home, you can substitute 2 cups of water and 1 can of tomato paste, or add another can of tomatoes plus 1⁄2 cup of water. 

Makes 8 servings 

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • 3 stalks of sliced celery
  • 2 cups of okra
  • 2 cups of low-sodium tomato or vegetable juice
  • 2 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1⁄2 cup of dry brown rice
  • 1 15-ounce can of stewed tomatoes
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon of basil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon of oregano
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2 cans of black-eyed peas
  •  (optional) 8 ounces of vegetarian sausage or soy chorizo

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, and okra. Cook for 5 minutes. 
  2. Add the vegetable juice, vegetable broth, tomatoes, spices, and rice. Stir, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the black-eyed peas and vegetarian sausage. Simmer for another 20 minutes and then serve.


Cajun Salmon Vegetable Croquettes with Creamy Dipping Sauce 

Forget fried salmon croquettes that are packed with butter and are low in nutrients. These delicious baked croquettes are high in protein, made with vegetables and whole grains, and baked in the oven. They are seasoned with cajun seasoning. The dipping sauce is optional, but it is healthier than a cream-based sauce and is full of flavor. 

You can use a ready-made cajun seasoning mix, or make your own cajun seasoning mix with salt and equal parts of dried oregano, paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. To coat the croquettes, use whole-grain cornmeal, crushed whole-grain cornflakes, wheat germ, or whole-wheat breadcrumbs or panko. You can use fresh salmon or another type of fish, 1 drained 15-ounce can of salmon, or canned tuna. 

Makes 4 servings 

Ingredients: 

  • 12 ounces of fresh skinless and boneless salmon
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1⁄4 cup of chopped green onion
  • 2 egg whites or 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, divided
  • 1 tablespoon of cajun seasoning, divided
  • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard, divided
  • 3⁄4 cup of fat-free sour cream or plain yogurt, plus another 2 tablespoons
  • Hot sauce to taste (optional), divided
  • 2⁄3 cup of whole-grain cornmeal, divided
  • 3⁄4 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1⁄4 cup of chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

Directions:

  1. Place the cornmeal on a pan, plate, or pie tin. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set them aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Add the salmon and cook on each side for 2 minutes. Add the bell pepper, yellow onion, and celery, and cook until they start to soften and the salmon is thoroughly cooked.
  3. Beat the egg whites or egg in a medium bowl. Add the salmon and vegetables, along with the green onion, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of cajun seasoning, 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard, hot sauce to taste, 2 tablespoons of fat-free sour cream or plain yogurt, and 1⁄4 cup of cornmeal. Mix the ingredients to combine them.
  4. Form the salmon mixture into patties. You should get 10 to 12 patties. Press them gently so they hold their form and lose a bit of their liquid. Coat each side of each patty with cornmeal by gently pressing each side into the cornmeal. Then place the patties on the prepared baking sheet and brush them with olive oil.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. While they are cooking, make the dipping sauce in a small bowl by whisking together the fat-free sour cream, remainder of the mustard, cajun seasoning, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and hot sauce, and chopped fresh parsley or cilantro. 


Whole-Grain Cornmeal 

Homemade cornbread can be easy, healthy, and delicious! This recipe has whole-grain cornmeal and whole-wheat flour, and it uses buttermilk and oil instead of butter. You can use 1 cup of milk plus 1 tablespoon of vinegar instead of buttermilk if needed. 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup of whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup of whole-grain cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar (or monk fruit or other natural low-calorie sweetener)
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan.
  2. Mix the whole-wheat flour, whole-grain cornmeal, sugar or sweetener, baking powder,
    and salt in a small bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, and buttermilk.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones. Stir gently until the batter is moistened. Lumps
    will remain.
  5. Bake for 17 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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